Stardew Valley: an informal review from your friendly neighbourhood farmer


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Stardew Valley is a farming simulator inspired mainly by the Harvest Moon series. If you’ve played any Harvest Moon or even Rune Factory game, you’ll probably know what to expect here. Stardew Valley has achieved incredible success and has a huge fan base. It’s a wholesome, fun way to spend your time.

At the beginning of the game, you’re a guy (or gal (or non-binary pal)) who has a mid-life crisis. You decide to quit your stable job to move to a remote valley to take up farming on the land your grandfather left you, despite knowing nothing about the subject. You can focus on farming if you like, or raising animals (my sister spends all of her time looking after her rabbits), or even repairing the town by offering up sacrificial vegetables to the spirits in the abandoned town hall. Yes, that is an actual thing you can do.

So here you are, an isolated city kid in a dilapidated farm, knowing only two people. What now? You have a few tasks, but mostly, you can do as you please. Clear the trash on your farm? Sure. Plant some turnips? You got it. Go meet the locals? Why not?

Well, I’ll tell you ‘why not’. You only have so much time to do things. If you stay up way too late, there’ll be consequences–specifically waking up and feeling terrible (This is very unrealistic, because I feel terrible no matter how long I sleep). Additionally, you only have so much energy before you completely collapse, just like in real life. Managing your energy and time is crucial to playing the game. With that being said, the game has no time limit. You can play for a hundred years and no character will have aged.

Now, farming can get a little boring, especially after a century. Why don’t we have some combat? Well, go down to the mines to get gems, money, and BLOOD PUMPING ACTION! Okay, maybe it’s not that intense. In fact, it’s very simplistic and relatively easy. But hey, it’s something. You can also find materials there that you can use to upgrade your tools to make your life easier.

Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. What other things can we exploit to become extremely rich? This patch of tomatoes isn’t going to make these heathens bow down to me!

How about fishing? Depending on the place and time you go fishing, you can find various types of marine life. Some of these are pretty lucrative as well. Eventually though, you’re going to start getting tired of catching pike and you’ll want to try your hand at catching friends.

You know, maybe the true way to play this game is to actually interact with people. It may be unrealistic, but how about we befriend someone? There are six bachelors and six bachelorettes. If there are twelve people, at least one of them has to like me, right? If you raise their approval enough, eventually you can even get married. There are also even more characters to befriend, and the more time and energy you spend on them, the more they will reward you with beautiful scenes to warm your cold, dead heart. Huh! Maybe the point of the game was the friends we made along the way, rather than ruthlessly playing the system in order to maximize profit …

This is to say nothing of the game’s soundtrack, which is absolutely phenomenal. Each track conveys the wonderfully chill atmosphere perfectly. It also makes for wonderful study music. So, make a beautiful farm, fall in love, have children…have a good time. You could also play multiplayer and help your friends to build their own farm. Well, if anyone actually liked you in real life.

I’d highly recommend this game to anyone. It’s only $17 C, it’s available on virtually every console, and it’s still being updated to this day.

I give Stardew Valley a 12/10–one point for every person that divorced me in this game.

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